fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "abidjan" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: MOUSSA ADEM <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 18:12:21 -0800 (PST)
Subject: My Dearest in Christ,
My Dearest in Christ,
I am contacting you to let you know my desire to establish a charity foundation in your country with this sum $3.500.000 (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) which I inherited from my late husband (Engineer. Anthony Letts) It is my desire to see that this money is invested to any business/ organization of your choice in your country and distributed each year among the charity organizations, motherless babyâs home, mosques, churches, Schools, supporting destitute aged men and women or whatever you may have in mind that will be to the benefit of the less fortunate.
I took this decision because I am presently hospitalized here in (C.h.u de Cocody Abidjan ) where I am undergoing treatment for my up coming breast cancer surgery operation and alternative treatment for my cerebrovascular disease (stroke). As you may wish to know there are no risks involved in this whole transaction, I therefore look forward to your early reply so that I will give you all the relevant information that will authorise the release and transfer of the said fund across to you as my duly assigned representative.
My contact Mrs. Rosamaria Letts.
E_mail___ ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanking you in advance for your consideration,
From Mrs. Rosamaria Letts.